Black Friday Unlikey to Provide Boost for Battered Retailers

Guest Commentary by Kristin Bentz, PMG Venture Group

With the U.S. elections over, investor focus, when not trained on the so-called fiscal cliff, is now beginning to turn toward the approaching holiday shopping season. The Friday after Thanksgiving, known as ‘Black Friday,’ is perceived by many to be busiest and most important shopping day of the year. It is not well understood by some investors that Black Friday today represents merely a ceremonial traffic spike kicking off the holiday shopping season as opposed to the inflection point in the annual fortunes of retailers that it once was.

Given the combination of aggressive preholiday discounting, early store openings, 7.9 percent unemployment, slow income gains and lingering effects from Hurricane Sandy, this year’s traditional holiday shopping season kickoff will probably weigh heavily on consumers’ minds and wallets, making it doubtful Black Friday this year will provide any significant boost to the sagging fortunes of retailers.

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